Interview With Leelah Alcorn

A Transgender Girl

How do you identify?

I am female. Even though I was assigned male at birth, that does not make me who I am.

How long have you known that you are a girl?

“To put it simply, I feel like a girl trapped in a boy’s body, and I’ve felt that way ever since I was 4. I never knew there was a word for that feeling, nor was it possible for a boy to become a girl, so I never told anyone and I just continued to do traditionally “boyish” things to try to fit in” (Alcorn). I did not actually know what transgender meant until I was 14.

Did you tell anyone?

Yes, “I immediately I immediately told my mom, and she reacted very negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong” (Alcorn). I didn’t have the chance to tell my dad myself after that. I was so happy when I had finally found the word for my feeling, but my parent’s hated the idea of me being anything other than their “perfect little straight christian boy” that I began hating myself too (Alcorn) In rebellion of my parents, I then came out as gay at school, because I felt it was the first step to telling other people about my gender.

What did your parents do after they found out?

My mom started taking me to christian therapists who told me “that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help” (Alcorn). So, instead of actually getting help for my depression and dysphoria, I had people making me feel worse about who I am. I can’t help that I am a girl, but somehow ended up with a guy’s body.

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How did you feel without your parent's support?

I felt that I would never be able to successfully transition, that I would look like a man for the rest of my life. I felt that no matter how hard I tried I would always be stuck being mistaken for a man. I felt this way, because my parents refused to let me transition in any way. With my parent's constant disappointment on top of the problems I already had with my body I felt trapped. I had no chance to be who I am.

What kind of harassment do transgender children and teens tend to face in school?

No one in my school knew I was transgender, but I had an online friend named Lawrence who told me what it was like for him. No one wanted to sit next to him in the cafeteria or talk to him. Whenever he talked the other kids would say "Oh my god, you sound just like a girl."Kids would yell from the school bus, “Faggot!” Throw stuff out of the windows" (Marksamer and Vade).

What did you want your suicide to mean?

I wanted people to see what happens to people when they are mistreated like I was. "The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren't treated the way I was, they're treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at the number and say "that's f*cked up" and fix it" (Alcorn).

Works Cited

Marksamer, Jody, and Dylan Vade. "Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Youth

____Recommendations for Schools." 30 Sept. 2002. Digital file.

Alcorn, Leelah. "Suicide Note." Drops of Ink. Libertyville High School, 15 Jan. 2015. Web. 8 Feb. ____2015.